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North Capitol Firehouse Update – Washington Firehouse Restaurant Coming this Summer!?!?

by Prince Of Petworth April 26, 2013 at 10:30 am 59 Comments

1626 North Capitol Street, NW

When hunting and fishing were recently banned at the North Capitol Firehouse, I knew we were in for some good news… Thanks to all who sent emails about the new facebook page for the Washington Firehouse Restaurant:

“A new restaurant anticipated opening in 2013, The Washington Firehouse, Old Engine Company 12 still serves the neighborhood today, but in a slightly different capacity, with its American Classic menu.”

The Bloomingdale Blog reports:

“An operator was signed last week and should be on course for a early summer opening, late June early July.”

What do you guys think – another tease or is this really happening late June/early July?

Check out some awesome renderings (they have construction shots as well) from the Firehouse’s facebook page:



  • new

    I hope this place is great but I am cautiously optimistic. The renderings look good, I think the name is bad.

    I wonder in the long run if they will be hurt by not being the first place to open up. They missed out on having a captive audience with no place else to go for many blocks. On the other hand maybe they will be helped by the market created by Rustik, Boundary Stone, etc.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think it will be an issue if they are able to deliver.

    • Anonymous

      eventually north capitol will develop and this place ( maybe) will have been the first to open up there. and there is a lot more potential for growth on n. cap than on first street.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • ET

      That was my first thought.

      While I like the renderings I generally take them with a grain of salt. I am sorry but there is no way i would want to sit outside at that intersection – umbrellas and potted plants be damned.

      That is a noisy street and that general intersection/area is a big traffic/noise hub. Of course people who live in DC will eat outside in good weather no matter the level of street/sidewalk noise and activity so I am sure the tables will be filled. Definitely think that the fence was a good idea.

      • Anonymous

        you can’t say the people watching won’t be interesting

      • Anonymous

        I don’t find this intersection louder than Connecticut ave, Georgetown, k street, or penn se.

        I think you don’t really know the intersection.

  • bb

    What kind of food are we talking? Fire-themed, perhaps?

  • ZZ

    There is an old firehouse under construction just feet away from the Cleveland Park Metro station… any idea what’s going on there?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      The Cleveland Park one will remain a firehouse – they are widening the doors and doing other renovations before they reopen.

      • anon

        thanks PoP… was wondering about that one

  • kken

    Just because it used to be a firehouse, does a restaurant there really have to be firehouse-themed? There’s one such place in downtown Silver Spring and it sucks…

  • John K.

    Funny how the drawings don’t include the shuttered store next door. Wonder if someone will ever do anything with that. They’ve done a nice job fixing up the Capitol Food Mart. There’s also a much bigger store building on the corner of R and North Capitol. What businesses can survive except for bars, restaurants, take outs, liquor and grocery stores?

  • Wife and I love the firehouse restaurant in SS. They serve good American food, and good beer. Hopefully this place can emulate that.

    • Anonymous

      hopefully not

    • Anonymous

      I hope to god they don’t emulate the spot in Silver Spring. It’s horribly bland and generic. I don’t want a TGI Friday’s down the street from where I live.

  • Anon X

    The same hapless three amigos are still running the joint. I dont see how this gets off the ground. They have burned bridges with ABRA, the local ANC, the neighborhood associations.

    The only people they have behind them are the clear cutting brush burning development zealots that cry and scream on list servs about how evil the ANC is.

    The owners of this place wrote a very ill-advised open letter blaming the community groups for their opposition to their liquor license. The catch was that there was no opposition to their license because they hadn’t applied for one. They were in hot water due to the license forgery at Shaws Tavern (a restaurant that they used to/still do have a role in).

    I dont have any confidence this place will open because the several obstacles in their way. Not to mention the neighborhood groups were alienated by these folks a while back by the letter.

    • Anonymous

      i don’t think that dude owns it anymore. i think it got sold to someone else who hopefully can prove to be a bit more competent

      • Becky

        Looks like it’s being sold by Brian Brown to Abbas Fathi, who was the one behind the Shaw’s Tavern mess — so it’s definitely the same folks. I would really love this to happen, but I have no faith in these guys. They are just idiotic when it comes to dealing with regulatory liquor license stuff.


        • JohnDC

          While the new owners did have the shaw tavern snafu. The jerks w/ the open latter was indeed the previous owner.

          • m

            the jerk w/ the previous letter was a partner w/ Fathi on Shaws

          • Anonymous

            steve may.

  • Anonymous

    should be interesting considering the regular shootings there, the busy nature of that street, and the rundown buildings and loitering there. i’m all for cleanup and maybe this will help but i’m not super optimistic it will work yet

    • Anonymous

      Do you have a source for the “regular shootings”? I take it you haven’t been around those parts in a long while.

      • Anonymous

        Regular shootings? Did you make this judgement as you drove past on your way home to Maryland? As a neighbor who lives a couple blocks away, I can assure you there are not regular shootings at this location. Please don’t carelessly besmirch the reputation of a place that’s trying to get off the ground.

        • anon

          +1. tactfully stated. thank you.

        • csp


        • Eckingtonian

          There are no regular shootings at that location. I’m the first to admit the neighborhood is still emerging, but I live around the corner, and this is pretty quiet.

          • I haven’t lived there in 4 years, but in 2008-2009 there were serveral shootings at Yeoung Fung Carry out on N. Cap and R NE. I know, my vehicle got stray bullet holes one night.

          • Anonymous

            street cred brah

    • Anonymous

      there are no “regular” shootings…. i live around the corner. it’s not THAT bad

    • Anonymous

      These kinds of changes have been par for the course for the last 10 years.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like a lot of space for just one restaurant. How many floors is it? I’m surprised they didn’t consider breaking it up into smaller cafes/themes to attract more clientele.

    • Anonymous

      The first idea was to have a different theme restaurant on each floor. That never took off. This one will be big, two floors and the top floor (as per the facebook page) will be a private dining room I guess to be rented for parties etc. I also liked the idea of three places instead of one, but I think they had a lot of issues trying to do that. I think of Shaw’s Tavern now. When it opened and took off it was always packed, hard to get into, they have since decided to open the second floor for seating as well to solve that problem. Lets hope this place will have the same problem. Getting it open and starting it is what we need. Clean that row up and start making North Capital, America’s Main Street again. This place will be the kicker, just got to get it going. Look at the Red Hen. They opened in a record short time, knocked it out and started serving. They are just a few blocks away in a location that has even tighter parking issues and there was not enough opposition to prevent it from opening. They have a high price point and are packed every night to capacity. Anything is possible in DC.

  • There was a typo on their facebook page.

    “A new restaurant anticipated opening in 2013, The Washington Firehouse.”

    Was supposed to say:

    “A new restaurant anticipated opening in 2023, The Washington Firehouse.”

  • Anonymous

    I’ll believe this when I see it. By which I mean, I don’t think I’ll ever believe it.

  • Anon

    I live in Bloomingdale and have salivated for a long time over someone opening a successful restaurant here. I’ve also got some residual irritation issues with Brown and Fathi for their ignorance and incompetence. Whereas I would’ve held my nose and supported them a few months ago, I don’t feel quite as desperate now that we have Rustik, Aroi, Boundary and Red Hen. So the food better not be as hit or miss as Shaw’s Tavern has turned out to be. I’m not going to support the Firehouse just cause it’s a restaurant that doesn’t have bulletproof glass.

    • Anonymous

      yeah they missed the boat – i will gladly continue supporting rustik, boundary stone, red hen, and beau thai every week and merrily ignore this place. not that it will ever actually open.

      • Anonymous

        until it opens and you’re there opening night

  • Mike Benson

    I agree with almost all of the threads below. I still feel a bit “burned” by the events that drove me out of the project back in 2007. I still drive by EC12 to check in on her. A glorious building, but the costs skyrocketed after I signed the agreement with Bryan Brown and the city. I was under the impression (back in 2007 when I lived around the corner from EC12) that somebody was coming in behind my concept (brick oven pizza/wood fire grill) as I gave all my drawings and business plan to Bryan… ate all my costs and stepped away. I did a walk through last fall and EC12 still needs a major amount of work. If you are a restauranteur with very deep pockets ($2-3 million up fit) she is a treasure. I do hope somebody revives her and takes care of the needs of the neighborhood… Bloomingdale is a terrific place!

    • Anonymous

      how much did Le Diplomat cost?

    • Meese is a Pig!

      Wow….Mike Benson! Those two words were all that this project ever needed! As a neighbor of EC12 (and an admirer of the ventures that Mike fronted on 14th ST NW) I was oh so optimistic that we’d have our very own success story right on North Capitol. But, I guess bad dealings with a couple of nit wits and a move home to NC got in the way. Oh, well… I guess the silver lining is that now that we have options in the neighborhood…..and ‘no’ the few options that now inhabit the surrounding streets have FAILED to turn us into Adams Morgan….you might find some investment interest right in the community….you know….in case you want to get back in the game! Please?

  • Janice

    I hope it’s better than the last restaurant that opened in a Fire Station (Sixth Engine).

    • It wouldn’t take much to exceed that very low barrier.

      • JL

        Agreed. Looks great from the outside, and the renovation is pretty good, but service, food and general ambiance leave a lot to be desired. And WAY overpriced.

  • Anonymous

    Crab shack brew pub. Please make it happen.

  • Art

    I know folks in the neighborhood want this, but it won’t work. The corridor is not ready yet. This place will fail. Additionally, parking will be an issue.

    • Anonymous

      but at least it will be renovated. if it actually happens.

    • Anonymous

      not sure that folks in the neighborhood really much care at this point, given the numerous great drinking and dining establishments in the area.

      • Anonymous

        I live in the neighborhood. Still a huge deal for me.

        • Agreed.

          I live a few houses down from this building.

          If the restaurant were ever actually built, I almost guarentee that place would be “standing room only,” even with three floor of dining space.

          • Anonymous

            hmmmm. i’m very doubtful of that.

          • You’re entirely too optimistic.

  • Anonymous

    the only thing that i find interesting or hopeful about this place is the possibility of a roof deck.

    beyond that it needs to be really fantastic to stir my attention. and i’m skeptical it will be. when they started movement on the firehouse we had nothing, now we’ve got great stuff nearby.

  • Anonymous

    Clearly there are a lot of jaded and closed eyes in our corner of DC. This place will open, be packed and very successful. Look around DC and see what’s happening in general. Mark my words people, the community WANTS this to launch rebirth of N Cap so it shall be. PERIOD.


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